Marketing Automation – what is hype and what is real?
Category: Knowledge Base
Group: Industry Trends
Results of a ViVOconcepts Survey August 2011
When reading posts in business-oriented social networks, marketing automation seems to be the holy grail for bloggers. Not one day is passing by without a new blog or comment in one of the many marketing communities.
So I started asking myself: is there some hype about this topic, or is it really the best thing since the invention of sliced bread?
As one way to find the answers, I checked out who actually is blogging – and not surprisingly, specialists and technology vendors in this new field are the one’s dominating the blogsphere. For one, specialists can provide latest knowledge to readers, which helps in creating awareness about the topic marketing automation. Technology vendors are as visible in social networks to share their views and know how as their venture capital budget allows.
As the next step, I wanted to dig a little bit deeper, getting beyond elevator speeches and one-liners. This led me to conduct a (non-scientific) poll asking 11435 Professionals in Sales and Marketing about Marketing Automation, followed by one-on-one interviews with a small focus group.
The objective: getting unbiased opinions from professional users about marketing automation.
We asked four short questions
Question 1: Are you currently using Marketing Automation in your Demand Generation programs?
Only 11% of all participants who responded to the question, actually claim that they are using marketing automation technology in their organization. 14% of all respondents “want to use” it, and 80% of all respondents do not use it at all.
Given the many different definitions about the subject marketing automation, I would also question whether the 11% of users are all thinking about the same features. Our focus group discussions revealed that simple outbound email systems are sometimes considered “marketing automation”. Bloggers have also brought up this misconception making the topic kind of murky.
Going back to our original question …. Is it hyped up? The answer is: Yes, but it is getting more real over time.
Question 2: Do you have sufficient internal resources to manage your Marketing Programs?
Initially, we were surprised by this outcome. 55% of all respondents told us that they do not have enough internal marketing resources. At a second glimpse though , it all makes sense. Marketing budgets were slashed dramatically following the present economic down turn, leaving marketing departments without the necessary man power to handle day-to-day marketing. Adding an innovative topic such as marketing automation to this mix, it is only too clear that organizations are often missing knowledge experts in this field to even think about implementing innovative marketing technology.
These results are in line with the wide-spread opinion of many bloggers that a big stumbling block for companies are (1) knowledge about what marketing automation can do for their business, and (2) lack of resources to manage the systems. Our focus group confirmed this fact, adding (3) lack of budget to this equation.
Question 3: Are you generating enough sales-ready leads?
This question attempts to bring light to the pain points “lead qualification”, and “marketing and sales alignment”. Many sales departments complain about the lack of qualified leads coming from marketing. The high percentage of 32% of respondents who are “not certain”, made us suspicious as it shows a lack of confidence in how to even answer the question.
Our focus group revealed that the term “sales-ready” is ambiguous, and has led to this high number. In other words, organizations are using terms such as “qualified”, “sales-qualified”, and “sales-ready” in different context, meaning different things.
The fact remains that only 26% were satisfied with the quality of leads, sales departments receive as “sales-ready”. This is making a great case for marketing automation, which primarily addresses this issue – to provide sales teams with the right lead at the right time through lead nurturing and automation.
Given the expressed lack of resources (question 2), we have identified a challenge, many companies are facing: sub-optimal marketing and consequently underperforming sales teams.
I am sure that this would make a great talking point!
Question 4: What is your primary focus?
Given the current recession, most organizations seem to have chosen to hibernate, to focus on existing clients – at least that is what we thought! The results show quite the contrary: 51% of all respondents focus on developing new clients, and only 14% believe in nurturing existing clients. Maybe someone can help us interpreting these astonishing numbers?
Going back to the initial question: what is hype and what is real? Yes, there seems to be some hype in social networks about the topic “marketing automation”. It is like with any new technology. Hype creates awareness, allows a new technology to prove itself over time.
Our survey has also shown that despite the hype and the misconceptions, the benefits of automating marketing and sales processes using innovative technologies will change the way marketing departments and sales departments have worked in the past. It will become a catalyst in aligning both teams, setting up visionary organizations for the next phase of growth.
Technology by itself is only an enabler for companies; it is not the solution. This means that knowledge exports are needed to leverage marketing automation software, to generate the results needed. This opens up a whole new market: services!
Exciting times are ahead!
Interested in more information? Go here
Author: Michael Kettenring, Founder and President, ViVOconcepts.
Founded in 1996, ViVOconcepts, is a technology firm with a strong consulting background. We specialize in sales and marketing automation technologies and services. Our dedication is to help our clients in demand generation, marketing automation, lead nurturing, and sales. Our technologies have proven to dramatically reduce costs while increasing return-on-investment for our clients.
(Publish Dt) 08/17/2011
Buzz: Marketing Automation
Industry: Unspecified , Educational Services , Manufacturing , Goverment , Financial Services , Technology , Consulting , Healthcare , Internet , Marketing Agency , PR Agency
Focus & Interests: Unspecified , Cost Savings , Efficiency Management , Consolidation , Increase Sales , Customer Loyalty , Process Automation , Lead Management , Reduce Cost of Sales , Web 2.0 Strategies , Web 2.0 Communities , Channel Management , Reporting & BI , Forecasting , Sales Innovation , Viral Marketing , Campaigning , Website Innovation , System Integration , eCommerce , Demand Generation , Portals , Education / Learning , Event Management , Cloud Computing